Ijen Trekking is an adventure activity worth to explore when you are traveling in Indonesia. You will need to trek to reach the Ijen Crater, which is the biggest crater in Java, Indonesia. It is situated at the northwest of Mount Merapi, between Banyuwangi and Bondowoso regencies, East Java.
About Ijen Crater
Ijen Crater, is an active composite volcano located within the Pleistocene Ijen Caldera (old volcanic crater).
The principal attraction at Ijen is the large Crater Lake that has much sulfur. It lies hidden between sheer walls of deeply furrowed rock at more than 200 meters. The Ijen crater itself lies at approximately 2,300 meters above sea level. It forms a twin volcano with the now extinct Mount Merapi. At Ijen Crater, you will enjoy the largest Blue Fire in the world.
The enormous Crater Lake contains about 36 million cubic meters of steaming, acid water. Inside the crater, you may find the different color and size of stones. So, it is also known as the beautiful garden of stone.
Another attraction is to observe how the sulfur miners do their work. You will see men will carry individual loads of up to 70 kg, often barefooted. They will go up to the rim of the crater and then 17 km down the mountainside to a factory near Banyuwangi.
Who should trek to Ijen Crater?
I would recommend Ijen Trekking Experience only for travelers who love nature and are not afraid of nature’s unpredictable weather. The weather is sometimes so unpredictable that make travelers cannot go down to the crater. The unpredictable weather means the massive sulfur clouds. It is too dangerous for anyone who wants to go down to the crater. I suggest that you have good fitness level prior deciding to trek to Ijen Crater.
Things to be aware of
- Be careful as you may be climbing in the dark on the rough track. The track is not clearly marked or secured in the dark. So, you may need to bring a headlamp for your safety;
- You may see deep slopes without fences;
- No rescue service provided in the area;
- No public toilet anywhere once you have left the base camp (the starting point).
You may start your Ijen trekking from the base camp for the 4 km trek up the caldera rim. Depending on your fitness level, you may spend about 1-1.5 hours for trekking to reach the crater.
You will begin the trek through quite an east straight and wide route with no rocks following gentle slope and slightly uphill to reach the top point. Along the path, you will enjoy the surrounding volcanoes and luxurious vegetation.
Once you have reached the crater rim, you may go down into the caldera. Remember to wear a gas mask otherwise you will have sulfur poisoning. Despite the availability of some wood handrails, they are not marked. Therefore, please be careful of the rough track, especially in the dark. No need to walk fast, just follow the person (or the guide) in front of you.
If you can cope with the sulfur, you will be able to enjoy the blue fire right on the edge of the acidic lake. After enjoying the Blue Fire, you may trek to Ijen summit (top of Mount Ijen) to enjoy the sunset over the entire area and to observe the sulfur miners do their work. Then, you may go back to the base camp and continue your trip.
How to get to Ijen Crater
If you would like to come by flight, you need to book a flight that will arrive at Blimbingsari, Banyuwangi. You will mostly transit at Juanda airport, Surabaya prior departing for Blimbingsari airport.
Another alternative, if you prefer on land transportation and you will come from any city in Bali, you will need to book a ferry ticket to reach Ketapang (Banyuwangi ferry terminal). If you will come from other cities in Java, you may consider booking a train to reach Karang Asem train station in Banyuwangi.
From Banyuwangi, you may continue your trip to Paltuding, the base camp or trekking starting point. You may go to Ijen by using a public transportation (called as village transportation). If you start your trip from Banyuwangi, you will need to reach Licin district and continue your trip to Paltidung by using another public transportation.
At Patildung, the base camp, you may find a modest motel managed by forestry Department, if you want to stay a night prior starting your trekking.
In addition, the best time to trek to Ijen Crater is during the dry seasons, between July and September. However, many adventure travelers also love doing the trekking around December despite the rainy season. In addition, you may start your trekking at very early in the morning, around 02.00 AM to let you catch up for the sunrise.
Despite the possibility to go trekking by yourself, I would recommend you to book a trekking activity offered by a verified professional guide. Especially if it is your first time trekking to Ijen Crater. You may consider booking Ijen Crater Experiences through YoExplore marketplace.
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